Shorter showers, drier lawns: Here’s what reducing your water use by 10% looks like

Although we’ve seen some rain the past couple days, overall this winter has been much drier than normal.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 4:04 PM HST|Updated: May. 3, 2022 at 6:28 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Although we’ve seen some rain the past couple days, overall this winter has been much drier than normal.

Add to that the shutdown of three wells due to the Red Hill crisis and officials say we could face mandatory water restrictions this summer unless users are able to cut consumption by 10%.

But what does that even mean?

A single-family home uses approximately 6,000 gallons of water a month. That comes out to roughly 200 gallons a day ― so a 10% reduction would mean using about 20 fewer gallons of water a day.

Here’s where Board of Water Supply officials are suggesting you cut use:

  • A bath uses about 36 gallons on average so take a shorter shower instead. A shower uses 2 gallons of water per minute. With a 5-minute shower, you can save 26 gallons a day.
  • Try to cut back the time you’re in the shower by a couple of minutes if you take long showers. For every minute you shave off your shower, you can save at least 2 gallons of water.
Car Washing:
  • Washing your vehicle at home can use up to 148 gallons of water or more for just one washing, especially if you leave the hose running without a garden nozzle.
  • Try to reduce the number of times you wash your car.
  • When you do wash your car, use a bucket with a sponge or towel. Make sure to rinse quickly with a hose that has a nozzle.
  • Also, try patronizing a car wash that uses recycled water on site.
  • Try to wash full loads of laundry versus multiple smaller loads that are not full. On average, a washing machine can use about 15 to 19 gallons of water per load.
Washing Dishes:
  • If you’re trying to save water by washing your dishes by hand, you’ve got it backwards.
  • Automatic dishwashers use 4 and 10 gallons per load, depending if it’s doing it by an efficient or an average one. Handwashing a load of dishes can use 20 gallons of water.
  • However, if you don’t have a dishwasher, what you can do, is soak your dishes in a bin instead.
Brushing Teeth:
  • A faucet left running will use, on average, between 3 to 5 gallons per minute.
  • When brushing your teeth, simply run the water just enough to wet your toothbrush and immediately turn it back off again. To rinse your mouth after brushing, use a reusable cup.
Checking for plumbing leaks:
  • Leaks inside your home can waste more than 90 gallons of water a day.
  • These types of leaks are often easy to fix. The common culprits are leaky toilets, faucets, shower heads, water connection lines, broken irrigation lines, and sprinklers.
Outdoor water use (for single-family homes):
  • For residents with a yard, about 30% of their water usage is for watering lawns and gardens.
  • On average, residents use more water outdoors than for showering and washing clothes combined. For example, a broken sprinkler can waste over 300 gallons of water in an hour.
  • Remember, lawns don’t need to be watered every day. Watering them just one to two times a week will promote deeper root growth, making your lawn healthier and more water efficient.

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